Days Before Vote to Add Industrial Business in Joppa, Air Quality Tests Show Pollution Already High

Days before Dallas City Councilors are set to vote on whether to add two concrete batch plants to Joppa, a community in Southern Dallas, a first-ever air quality study shows pollution levels there are already high.

"That sand, dust, coming over here," said Joppa resident Vickie Arnold. "We don't know what that stuff is doing to us.

The group Downwinders at Risk is trying to find out. It's been doing air quality tests in Joppa for a month to measure particulate matter in the area.

"It is 30 to 50 percent higher than it is 9 miles away where the E.P.A has their monitor," explained Shannon Gribble of Downwinders as she took samples near the train tracks.

"If this is consistently so, this could be a huge violation of E.P.A standards. We've only been collecting for a month though, so we don't really know," said Gribble.

"No one wants it," said Dallas City Councilman Kevin Felder, who represents Joppa. "I think it's unfortunate these companies would choose this area and not take into effect the health of the people that live there."

The proposal would add two new concrete batch plants to an area where there is an existing asphalt plant. It would also rezone the area for a distribution center and make improvements along the railway.

Dallas Cothrum, C.E.O of Masterplan, a land use consulting firm, said the proposal would help cut pollution by cutting down the number of truck trips. "It's a good plan, but it might not be good politics," Cothrum said.

"They have not had push back for years," said Temeckia Derrough, a Joppa resident who helped collect some of the 200 signatures for a petition opposing the plan. "We have the fight now and the education needed for us to fight."

Felder said he'll fight the plan and plans to win the fight. The Dallas City Council is set to vote on the matter on Wednesday.

Our media partners at The Dallas Morning news have also been looking into the small community. You can read more from their investigation by clicking here.

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